It may still be 95°F here in Dallas, TX, but summer is still winding down in terms of seasonal produce. If you planted herbs this year, now is the time to start preserving some of that fresh summer taste to enjoy year-round.
If you are new to home preservation, the easiest thing to start with is drying your own herbs. There are a few ways you can do this, depending on your available equipment and counter space:
Option 1: Place clean, dry herb branches in a single layer on a wire rack and set in a cool, dry location in your home with good air circulation. This is your best bet if you don't own a dehydrator, but still have plenty of counter space. When the leaves are dry and brittle (after several days), remove leaves from the branches and store in a glass jar in a cool, dry place (like your pantry).
Option 2: Place clean, dry herb branches in a single layer in your dehydrator set between 95-100°F until dry and brittle. The length of time needed will vary depending on the type of herb. This is a very easy way to dry herbs and you don't have to take up a lot of counter space for several days.
Option 3: make little bundles of herb bouquets and tie them together at the base. Hang the bouquets upside down in a cool, dry place with good air circulation for several days until dry and brittle. The good thing about this method is that the bouquets certainly look pretty while they are drying out! It also saves counter space, too.
Regardless of the method you choose, once your herbs are dry, remove the leaves from the branches and store in a glass jar in your pantry. Use within 6 months for optimal flavor. You can choose to keep all your herbs separate or make your own herb blends. I chose to blend together lemon thyme, thyme, oregano, and lavender for a nice all-purpose herb blend that I can use for croutons, tomato sauces, or sprinkling over baked goat cheese.